The Merchant of Venice (2004)

This is a wonderful film production of Shakespeare's meditation on mercy. It helps that the play is a masterpiece to begin with.

As anti-semitism is widely practiced in 16th century Venice, a Jewish money lender called Shylock sees no problem in making a deal with a gentile business man, Antonio, that the cost of default on the loan would be a pound of his own flesh. Of course there is romance in Shakespeare's play and this is played out with Shylock's daughter eloping with a Christian which only firms Shylock's hatred of the Christians and then there is Antonio's protogé Bassanio who borrows the money in order to seek the hand of the princess Portia.

The romantic side stories and Portia's antics actually diminish the greater drama played out between Shylock and Antonio, though Portia's own role at showing mercy to her husband echos that of the courtroom.

The acting and set design are exquisite, but nothing beat the fact that I wanted justice as much as Shylock did and I actually rooted against mercy in all cases causing much reflection following the film - Why do I prefer justice over mercy when I have been shown so much mercy?

Official Site | IMDB

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